The term Sigil-bearer refers to anyone marked by a sigil, whether branded with one during the Shockwave (sigil-branded) or born with one after the Shockwave (sigil-born). Estimates at the number of sigil bearers typically vary between one to two million, roughly 0.025% of the world's population, or about 1 in forty people.
Many Sigil-bearers have embraced the term posthuman.
Those branded or born with the sigil find that they can wield otherworldly powers, like the superhumans from comic books and science fiction. It is very rare for one person to be branded with multiple sigils, and each sigil grants only a sigle power, although someone branded with a sigil may find or learn a variety of ways to use their abilities (such as a sigil-branded individual learning to use their electricity-based powers to manipulate their electromagnetic field and fly).
While most people who bear the sigil find that they have an almost innate sense for and control of their powers, some may find them hard to control during periods of heightened emotional strain Strength and control of an individual's sigil powers grows with practice and experience, although this may vary among individuals.
Those marked with the sigil have no direct connection to the Cipher, and do not feel the same type of reaction to Necromancy or the marks associated with it. No Cipher mage or person from a Cipher mage bloodline has been marked by a sigil, perhaps due to their natural connection to the Cipher.
Society and the sigil-bearers
Like with most things normal people do not understand, the power that the sigil-bearers wield, and the sigil-bearers themselves, tend to elicit fear and hatred among non-branded society. While recognized as human, many religions believe the sigil-bearers and their powers come from a dark source, especially considering the events of the Shockwave, although several cult-like religions have sprung up that deify the sigil-bearers.
Perhaps inspired by the heroes and villains of comic books and science fiction, several sigil-bearers have taken up the archetypical roles, with some believing themselves to be granted their powers to protect the world from evil, while others may use their powers for personal gain. More still just try to ignore their new abilities, and live lives no different than before the Shockwave.
The Kerberos Group, centered on Governor's Island off of New York City, have made great strides in helping and encouraging Sigil-bearers to learn to control and use their abilities for the betterment of humanity as a whole, and has even established a school for Sigil-bearer youth on Governor's Island, the Croft Institute.
Powers and abilities
The sigil can grant a large variety of powers or abilities to those branded with it, anything from control over shadows and darkness to the ability to move at extremely high speeds. Even more abstract gifts such as premonitions or chance manipulation are possible. The sigils can not cause permanent alterations to an individual's shape or form, although certain sigils may grant temporary physical changes, such as shape shifting or temporarily growing wings, for example. Along those lines, there are no "passive" sigils - a sigil must be activated for its power to be imbued, but as mentioned above, some people may find their control over their sigil activation lessened during heightened emotional stress.